Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) Pray for a Persecuted Church
 Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA)Pray for a Persecuted Church

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STATEMENT:.

Aug 4 2020

FIACONA strongly objects to the ill-advised celebration and gloating by extremist Hindutva supporters during the occasion of the laying of foundation for a controversial temple in a place called Ayodhya, in Northern India.
The proposed temple construction is held on a site where a 500 year old mosque known as Babri Masjid was illegally tore down by extremist elements in 1992 causing the rioting and killing of thousands of people.
The scheduled celebration is to take place in Times Square on August 5th, 2020, masquerading as a 'Bhoomi Pooja' for the proposed Ayodhya temple. The Hindutva supremacists groups in the U.S. who support Prime Minister Modi's policies of polarization and division have become so bold in their approach and so cavalier in their attitudes at a point where they are even ready and willing to promote policies so contradictory to the values and principles of their adopted land. ... 

With the Ayodhya ceremony, has the inclusive India of my dreams been lost forever? : Harsh Mander.

Aug 5 The Scroll

The idea of a humane country of equal citizenship has taken a bad knock. Like a meteor in slow motion, it was only a matter of time that this would hit us. Even so, August 5, 2020, is a day of profound sadness and loss. History will remember it as the day on which the bumpy but colourful and often hopeful journey of India as a humane and inclusive republic of equal citizenship was formally halted by an incumbent government. A government of unmatched hubris, rooted in an ideology of Hindu supremacism, the complete reversal of the pledges that we the people of India made in our Constitution.
Was this a tragedy foretold? From the moment when three bullets were pumped into the frail body of Mahatma Gandhi during his inter-faith prayer meeting  ...

Church officials wary about India's new education policy. 

Aug 5 UCA News

The Indian government has released an ambitious education policy aiming to transform the country's learning system to match global standards, generating mixed reactions from church officials.
The federal cabinet approved the National Education Policy 2020 on July 29, replacing a 34-year policy.
The policy was in the making for more than six years and the first draft was released in 2016. The process to formulate a new policy was accelerated soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pro-Hindu party came to power in 2014.
Officials of the Catholic Church, which claims to be managing the largest network of educational institutions in the country after the government, were reserved in their comments, saying they need time to study the policy in depth....

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India's Karnataka state government tries to remove  Christianity and Islam from school curriculum.

July 31 Asian News

Following an outcry against the proposal, the State’s Education Department issued a statement on Thursday, saying that “the decision to drop certain chapters has been put on hold. A review will be done, following which the deleted chapters will be uploaded to the website”.
The BJP-led Government of Karnataka has put on hold a controversial proposal to drop certain chapters from social science textbooks to trim the 2020-21 curriculum for Grades 1 to 10 students. The sections to be removed covered Islam, Christianity, Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali.
State authorities had initially decided to cut the 2020-21 syllabus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapters on the Constitution, Islam and Christianity were left out of school curricula, various media reported.
The rationale behind the move was that students would study these topics in Grade 9 anyway.”.... 

6 Christian families given ultimatum: Deny Jesus or flee. 

July 30 Christian Today

Police have ordered six Christian families to either renounce their faith or flee their homes after they reported being brutally attacked by a radical Hindu mob.
Joginder Bhuya, a Christian, told persecution watchdog International Christian Concern that he reported the attack to the Latehar District Police station of Jharkhand state on July 5. But instead of filing a report, officers gave Bhuya an ultimatum, saying they must either convert back to Hinduism or abandon their homes and leave the village.
"I thought the police are there to protect and serve justice, but the police spoke exactly what the religious fanatics have been telling us," Joginder said. Earlier, Hindu village leaders had convened a meeting to discuss the fate of Christian villagers who had refused to renounce their Christian faith. There, it was decided that the Christians would be chased out of their homes and the village ....

Woman brutally murdered by Hindu radicals for converting to Christianity

July 29 Asia News

A woman who had recently converted to Christianity was brutally murdered by four youths associated with a Hindu fanatic group, marking the fifth religiously motivated killing of a Christian in the country in less than two months.
UCA News reports that four youths were arrested in connection with the murder of a Christian woman, Suman Munda, 25, killed in Redhadi, a village in Khunti district, on July 19.
A local pastor who requested anonymity told International Christian Concern that Munda converted to Christianity six years ago. After learning of her conversion, radical Hindu nationalists started harassing her.
When relatives visited Munda's house they could not find her, they later discovered her body at a deserted place near her home. "I suspect that it is the handiwork of a Hindu fanatic group. Christians here have been facing a serious threat from it. The fanatic group ....

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Fifth Christian murdered in India in India by Hindu nationalists of Mr. Modi[s party in two months.

July 23 UCANews

Woman found dead in Jharkhand had been harassed by Hindu fanatics after converting to Christianity
Police have arrested four youths in connection with the murder of a Christian woman one month after a similar killing in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. She was the fifth Christian to be murdered in India in the last two months.
The four youths, who were not identified, were being questioned over the death of Suman Munda, 25, who was killed in Redhadi, a village in Khunti district, on July 19, local media reported.
“It is a matter of serious concern because the state witnessed a Christian man killed only last month in the same district. The administration as well as leaders should take note of it and take appropriate steps,” Bishop Binay Kandulna of Khunti ....” 

Modi pushes controversial temple to center stage of Indian politics.

July 22 UCA News 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to visit a controversial temple site in a move that could boost his party's idea of making India a Hindu-only nation.
Modi, known for his hardline politics, is expected to participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the temple in northern India's Ayodhya town, considered the birthplace of Hindu lord Ram.
A centuries-old dispute over a temple-mosque structure in Ayodhya was aggravated in 1992 when Hindu zealots demolished the structure. It triggered nationwide Hindu-Muslim riots, killing at least 2,000 people.
Modi's pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the political mainstream by demanding demolition of the 16th-century mosque built by Muslim ruler Babur. They claimed Muslims built the.....

Christians in India Return to Village where Followers of Tribal Religion Attacked

July 20 MorningstarNews 

Assailants are out on bail.
A Christian couple and their children were asleep in their beds in central India at 11 p.m. recently when villagers who follow the local tribal religion broke into their home and began beating them with wooden batons.
The family of Bhima and Devi Markham fled from their home in Devkupli Para, Chhattisgarh state that night, May 20, to save their lives, an area pastor said.
“They ran into the wilderness to hide while the assailants vandalized their belongings, throwing away the food grains in their homes,” pastor Ramdhar Kashyap told Morning Star News.
The mob of 15 furious villagers went on to beat Christians Chenna Markham and Joga Kunjam and their families, along with an unidentified elderly Christian woman, driving them from their .. ...

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Christian missionary, father-of-4 brutally murdered in India.

July 17 ChristianPost

A Christian missionary and father-of-four was brutally murdered by a Maoist group in India angered by his mission work amid a rise in religious persecution across the country.
Morning Star News reports that on July 10, a Maoist group in the Gadchiroli district of India’s Maharashtra state shot and killed Munshi Dev Tado, a 28-year-old Christian convert and father of four children, ages 6, 5, 4 and 1.
Tado’s wife, Jaini Munshi Tado, told the outlet that her husband was leading worship on his property when three armed men and three women interrupted the service. 
“They shook hands with him at first, then took him by his hand and, after few steps, they tied his hands at his back with a rope,” she said. “I, my father-in-law and brother-in-law followed after them, pleading . ...” 

The Gutting Of Indian Democracy By Modi-Shah - by Ramachandra Guha 

July 14 NDTV India

In his bid to impose his absolute authority on his party, his government, and his nation, Narendra Modi has had one key ally-his long-time associate from Gujarat, Amit Shah. First as Party President and now as Home Minister, Shah has played an indispensable and devilishly effective role in neutering democratic opposition outside the government. And in bending to the Prime Minister and the ruling party's will, autonomous institutions within the government itself.
It was after observing the Modi-Shah jugalbandhi in operation at the centre for a year-and-a-half that, in December 2015, I had characterized India as an 'election-only democracy'. Alas, it is time to revise that judgement, and to downgrade our democracy further .....

Fourth Christian in Less than Two Months Killed in India Maoists in Maharashtra state

July 13 Morningstar

“They shook hands with him at first, then took him by his hand and, after few steps, they tied his hands at his back with a rope,” she told Morning Star News. “I, my father-in-law and brother-in-law followed after them, pleading and enquiring as to why they are taking him. They said they just want to talk to him and that we need not worry, they will send him back in a little while.”
Family members continued to follow until the Maoists forcibly stopped them and pushed them away, throwing them to the ground, Jaini Munshi Tado said.
“Hardly five to seven minutes later, we heard a gunshot,” she said, weeping. “We immediately ran in the direction only to find the body of my husband in the pool of his blood, and the Maoists had " ...

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Christian families attacked, threatened and forced to flee their village:

July 10 AsianNews:

A mob ransacked a young clergyman’s home. They threatened his family and two other Christian families that if they did not leave the village, their women would be raped, the men murdered, and their homes burnt. Police was forced to release two detainees.


Hinduvta radicals attacked and mocked Rev Vikas Gupta (pictured right) in a remote village in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh on 2 July, said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
“Vikas Gupta, a 21-year-old man, was dragged inside a Hindu temple where he was forced to bow in front of an idol,” George told AsiaNews. After that, “he was paraded through the village market”. His attackers “also damaged his motorbike.”
The following day another mob broke into his home in Dassmora, a village in Azamgarh district. They ransacked the house, and threatened his family and two other Christian....

Persecuted, but not abandoned: How India's Christians are staying strong despite opposition.

July 13 ChristianToday

Life has been tough across India: Covid-19 has forced hundreds of millions of citizens into lockdown. For many of the nation's minority Christian population it has become a question of survival as they face discrimination and even violence. However, despite all this, millions of Indian Christians are remaining firm in their faith. "Christians are suffering even more than before," says Open Doors partner Brother Sam*, based in India. "Most of them have had to combat economic problems as well as opposition and hatred from their communities." But in the face of the worsening opposition, Christians in India appear to be unwavering in their faith and courageously living their lives for God.
"The Lord's Spirit is really working powerfully," says Open Doors partner Sabita."Persecution victims are standing strong and there are many people being healed and coming to faith.".....

Christians faced 135 cases of persecution in first half of 2020; believers lynched, sodomized. 

July 16 Christianity Today

In India, 135 cases of persecution occurred in the first half of 2020, including a lynching, community ostracization, and the sodomization and murder of two Christian men, a new report has revealed.
According to a new report from the Delhi-based Evangelical Fellowship of India, amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Christians faced more opposition than ever from their communities because of their faith, primarily at the hands of Hindu extremists. Between January and June, numerous reports surfaced of Christians being falsely accused, threatened, and attacked.
Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the Bhartiya Janata Party, topped the persecution scale with 32 cases of hate crimes. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, with nearly 200 million people. However, only about 350,000 Christians live in the state.
In Odisha's ...

Latest News

Christian Father of Two Killed in Jharkhand State, India Tribal Adivasis opposed his conversion, raped his mother-in-law..

July 4 Morningstar News

When Kande Munda heard a knock on his door one night last month, the Christian father of two knew it was likely the same thugs and their colleagues in his area of Jharkhand, India who had harassed him for nearly four years.
They were particularly upset that Munda had reported them to police for a 2018 assault on his mother-in-law. The assailants, followers of tribal Adivasi religion, had opposed her conversion to Christianity by labelling her Christian prayers as “witchcraft” and gang-raping her.... ... 

42-y-o mother in UP receives threats from her siblings for following Christianity, worries for her two sons. 

June 30 ChristianityToday

Angry relatives in Uttar Pradesh bang the door of a Christian family late at night and threaten to murder them if they did not renounce their faith in Christ.
On June 18, at around 11 p.m., a 12-year-old boy heard his uncle and five other drunken men pounding at his house door in Ram Ganga Vihar area of Moradabad threatening to kill him and his 20-year-old brother. Molly James, 42, the terrified mother who was with the two boys when the angry assailants were at the door, ...

Jharkhand, two Christians accused of proselytism; Hindu radicals vandalize a Pentecostal church

June 25 Asia News

A mob damaged the building still under construction and destroyed a cross. Police cordoned off the area and arrested the two Christian teachers. Sajan K George: "False accusations, intimidation of Christians for political reasons".
A Pentecostal church was vandalized by Hindu radicals after two Christian teachers were accused of proselytizing. The incident occurred on June 22 in the Dhanbad (Jharkhand) district. The mob damaged the building which is still under construction...

STATEMENT

 

The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Welcomes the The US State Department's Annual Religious Freedom Report.

 

June 10, 2020, Washington, DC. The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) welcomes the Annual Religious Freedom Report by State Department Released today. 

 

According to the US State Department, “ there were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice and speak about their religious beliefs. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) data, 7,484 incidents of communal violence took place between 2008 and 2017 in which more than 1,100 people were killed”.

 

FIACONA finds the list of incidents affecting the right of the people to believe and practice their faiths as reported to be accurate though there are a few more thousand such incidents that have taken place in India during the reporting period.

 

The fact that India prides herself as a democratic state makes it even more critical for her to behave like one respecting the fundamental rights of every citizen and not undermine any sections of the society.

 

The President of FIACONA Mr. Koshy George said, “I am worried that the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities continues even during the Coronavirus lockdown and Prime Minister Modi’s silence on these critical issues is very disheartening.”

 

Mr. John Prabhudoss, the Chairman of FIACONA thanked Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Sam Brownback and his team for their work on behalf of those persecuted for their faith.

 

It is becoming more and more common knowledge that non-state actors like the militias affiliated with Mr. Modi’s BJP government are increasingly violent in the past few years. Now they enjoy the protection of the government also. FIACONA strongly recommends that the US government must take the lead in sanctioning non-state actors and specific individuals in India who advocate and/or perpetrate violent acts against Christian and other religious minorities.

 

FIACONA also thanked the Trump Administration for its focus and prioritizing Religious Freedom issues in its foreign policy approach. FIACONA hopes that the President understands the serious threat to the state of India and the US interests from the Hindu nationalist movement.

 

The United States and the International community must understand that only an equitable, peaceful, and progressive society that is not affected by internal civil unrest will become a productive partner in trade and security. A religiously volatile and socially disturbed society in India will be detrimental to the interest of the international community not just in South Asia but across the Indian Ocean Corridor and beyond.

 

FIACONA asks the International governments, especially the industrialized nations to tread very cautiously in endorsing or encouraging nationalist forces in the name of the Hindu faith in India. 

 

The Report rleased by the Depart met of State could be accessed here

 

For Media Inquiries, please contact,

John Prabhudoss: john@fiacona.org

Koshy George: president@fiacona.org

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